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Jane Eyre Quotes

“I have a Master to serve whose kingdom is not of this world; my mission is to mortify in these girls the lusts of the flesh; to teach them to clothe themselves with shame-facedness and sobriety – not with braided hair and costly apparel and each of the young persons before us has a string of hair twisted in plaits which vanity itself might have woven; these, I repeat, must be cut off; think of the time wasted, of – ”
Mr. Brocklehurst was here interrupted: three other visitors, ladies, now entered the room. They ought to have come a little sooner, to have heard his lecture on dress, for they were splendidly attired in velvet, silk, and furs. The two younger of the trio (fine girls of sixteen and seventeen) had grey beaver hats, then in fashion, shaded with ostrich plumes, and from under the brim of this graceful head-dress fell a profusion of light tresses, elaborately curled; the elder lady was enveloped in a costly velvet shawl, trimmed with ermine, and she wore a false front of French curls.

– Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, Chapter 7. Mr. Brockehurst lectures the Lowood pupils and their teacher Miss Temple on the importance of wearing plain clothes and straight hair with no curls. He believes that he is on a mission from God to save them from the “lusts of the flesh.” But the barefaced religious hypocrisy and irony of what he preaches are exposed when his wife and two daughters enter the room. They are adorned in luxurious clothing, covered in expensive silk and velvet and animal furs, and are displaying elaborate curls! While he and his family permit themselves to live extravagantly, the poor orphaned girls of Lowood must live plain lives.

Hush, Jane! you think too much of the love of human beings; you are too impulsive, too vehement; the Sovereign hand that created your frame, and put life into it, has provided you with other resources than your feeble self, or than creatures feeble as you. Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits: that world is round us, for it is everywhere; and those spirits watch us, for they are commissioned to guard us; and if we were dying in pain and shame, if scorn smote us on all sides and hatred crushed us, angels see our tortures, recognise our innocence…God waits only the separation of spirit from flesh to crown us with a full reward. Why, then, should we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness – to glory?

– Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, Chapter 8. Helen Burns consoles Jane after her humiliation by Brocklehurst. Helen has a very strong Christian faith and a very religious way of thinking about adversity. Here she addresses Jane’s statement that she needs to be loved by others and would sacrifice almost anything for that. She chides Jane for thinking too much about human love. She advises her to have faith in God’s love and tells her that his angels watch over and guard us, seeing our pain and recognizing our innocence. Death and the separation of the spirit from the body offers the reward of eternal happiness and the glory of Heaven, Helen assures her. This foreshadows how Helen herself will succumb to illness, leading to her death.